On August 13th of 2005 my husband and I committed our lives to one another before God and witnesses. Our passion for family and desire to have children was so absolute that we actually included these vows in our wedding ceremony:
Our mentors read: “Recognizing the present culture war that seeks to undermine the covenantal structure of the Christian family in our society, Do you both vow to uphold a high value of life and family?” To which we emphatically, full of joy and hope replied: We do!
And then we repeated these vows, in unison, in front of God and witnesses:
“Enabled by God’s grace and guided by the wisdom of Biblical revelation,
…We vow to establish and maintain a Christian home
…To receive our children as gifts of God’s blessings
…To nurture and train them in His word and ways
…To honor Christ and the gospel of the Kingdom by doing so!”
Everything about that sacred moment mirrored our certainty that we would have many children. In the depths of my heart I honestly expected to get pregnant on our honeymoon and continue to have children until God said otherwise. We have such a high value of life that it has been our personal conviction to never use any type of birth control but wholly rely on God’s sovereign timing and plan.
God has been writing our story for the last thirteen years and our family looks different than we expected. During our second year of marriage we celebrated our first pregnancy. I knew within weeks that I was pregnant and saved the news as a romantic Valentine’s Day surprise for my husband. Both of us were overjoyed and called all of our family and friends to share in the celebration. By March 2nd, at just 7 or 8 weeks pregnant, I had a miscarriage.
Devastated doesn’t even begin to describe our shattered hearts.
The next few years cycled between anticipation and disappointment. I’m not sure you can understand the agony of infertility unless you have personally lived it. The utter and complete helplessness and despair month after month. It is a grief like no other.
We did all the things y’all. We saw all the doctors, endured all the exams & procedures, read all the books, prayed all the prayers….but God didn’t answer in the way we hoped or wanted. To this day we have never had another pregnancy. Doctors found nothing biologically wrong and yet God’s answer to our longing for biological children is no.
For years I felt broken and ashamed. I irrationally carried the weight of infertility on my shoulders as if I was the giver of life. None of this made sense. I was angry and jealous of couples abounding with children. I was so confused and asked all the whys…why no, why us, why not now? Most of all I felt this profound sense of lack as if our family was incomplete while at the same time we knew with certainty God wasn’t leading us toward more aggressive next steps like IVF or even fostering & adoption.
It has taken many years for my husband and I to be at peace with the reality that we will not have biological children. This peace is without question an absolute gift from God. The agony and cycles of despair have stopped as we rest fully assured that we are walking in God’s perfect will for our lives. Our family doesn’t look like the picture we had in our minds when made those vows years ago, but we are complete.
Something struck me recently while studying the first married couple in Genesis chapter 2. God formed the first man, Adam, out of dust and breathed the breath of life into him (vs. 7). God then gives Adam a purpose – to steward the garden (vs 15). God proceeds to set some clear boundaries for Adam – do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (vs. 16-17). Then God says “it is not good for the man to be alone” and He looks through all His creation but doesn’t find a suitable partner for Adam (vs.18-20). God puts Adam to sleep and unlike the rest of creation He uses a rib from Adam (rather than dirt) to form Eve, God modeled in her forming the oneness and unity He desired for marriage. This section ends with the first honeymoon and my favorite verse, “Both the man and his wife were naked, yet felt no shame.” (vs. 21-24).
God’s precision in creation is astounding. Everything He did, the way He did it, in the order He did it, matters! Let’s face it, He is the almighty star breathing God of the universe – He could have snapped his fingers and created a whole generation of humans in an instant, fully populating earth. He could have modeled the first family as a set of parents with 10 kids and all of history would have followed that design.
Yet He looked upon this first family – a husband and a wife – along with all of creation, and declared them very good (1:31) and complete (2:1).
com·plete /kəmˈplēt/ adjective 1. having all the necessary or appropriate parts.
God declared them very good and complete. Just as they were, a husband and a wife.
God has used this passage to bring so much healing to my heart and to re-frame my perspective on our family. My husband and I have surrendered our lives to the Lord and are walking in His perfect will. We have followed God’s direction are trusting in His perfect plan for our lives. God doesn’t owe us anything. Our family has all the appropriate parts, we are not lacking in anything. We are complete.
I’m so grateful that in time God has replaced those feelings of brokenness, shame, and lack with a sense of purpose and hope. When waves of sadness and despair visit I sink myself into the truth of God’s word and remind myself that He is trustworthy. I rest in the peace of His will and the completeness that we have in Him.
Have you had an experience where God didn’t give you what you wanted? How have you handled it? What does it mean for you to be complete in that situation?
If you are reading this blog and are going through a struggle with infertility I want to encourage you that you are not alone. You are not broken or lacking or incomplete. You were designed by God for greatness and a purpose, even if you can’t see that right now. Infertility is such a painful and isolating experience and I pray that as I share our journey you will receive a new perspective and source of hope. May God give you the strength and courage to lean into Him, I promise He will not let you down.
If you are reading this blog and you have someone in your life going through a struggle with infertility, please share this blog with them and stick around for my next blog post “Supporting those with Infertility”.